Shotgun approach?
August 3, 2009 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Does it hurt to apply for every job opening you qualify for within a government agency?

And, would it affect things if there is a wide discrepancy between pay grades (ie, some positions are GS-8, and others GS-4)?

In my head, I can see the same hiring manager initially processing all the applications and thinking, WTF? And perhaps diverting some or all of the applications in a different manner than they would otherwise.

I could also see it not being a problem at all. Does anyone have actual experience/perspective with this?
posted by Number Used Once to Work & Money (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Note: I'm primarily wondering about the pay grade spread effect on multiple applications.
posted by Number Used Once at 11:48 AM on August 3, 2009

It depends on how you define "government agency," or perhaps it depends on the agency...

Would it hurt to apply for every position you qualify for in the Department of the Navy? Heck no, because NAVSEA does its own hiring, virtually independently of NAVAIR, NAVFAC, etc. An application with one gets you no consideration with the others, just as it gets you no consideration with the Department of the Army, Air Force, or overall DoD. YMMV at other agencies, but I can't believe it would be that horribly different.

So unless it's very clear that all these apps are going to the same HR person, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Even if they are going to the same person, as long as the facts of your resume are consistent from app to app, I still wouldn't worry about it. The app signals your interest in a particular position. Interest in more than one position = more than one app.

I will, however, give you the same advice I got back in the day. Get in as high as you can at the beginning. Seriously, don't take a GS-4 postition if you have the KSAs to be a GS-8. You'll spend the first several years of your career just making up the difference.
posted by somanyamys at 12:19 PM on August 3, 2009

Best answer: My bf's mom has a high-up government job and is involved with hiring in her department. He's somewhat familiar with the process and doesn't think this would faze them at all. (It's pretty likely that there are separate hiring managers for the positions anyway.) As long as you meet all the requirements and pass all the tests, they're basically fitting you into a slot based on how many openings are available.

You may have to explain your rationale in an interview, but it would be perfectly acceptable to say that you're applying for lower-grade positions to get your foot in the door and hope to work up from there. This is very common, as there is a great deal of room to move up once you get hired.
posted by Fifi Firefox at 12:22 PM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

They're too big to have a single hiring manager - or even a single recruitment agency. That said, lodging an application for a job with a government department here will generally lock you out of applying for a similar position with that same agency for the next six months (some large private employers also have this policy), so you might want to specifically check their policy on that lest you find yourself locked out of the recruitment process for a job you really want because you recently applied for one about which you were ambivalent.
posted by Lolie at 12:24 PM on August 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks.
posted by Number Used Once at 3:27 PM on August 3, 2009

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